French manufacturer awarded contract to deliver Perth railcars

French rail manufacturer Alstom has been awarded the contract to build 246 railcars for Western Australia’s METRONET project.

The railcars will be manufactured locally at an assembly plant in Bellevue. Local manufacturers involved in the construction of the facility include crane manufacturer Eilbeck, which will use $850,000 to supply four cranes capable of lifting up to 25 tonnes.

Vector Lifting, based in Cockburn, southern Perth, will supply lifting jacks, a bogie press, and bogie turntables, at a cost of $3.8 million.

144 of the cars will replace the current A-Series railcars, and six railcars will replace the Australind service.

Alstom will also build the facility where the local components of the railcars will be manufactured. At least 50 per cent of the project value must be delivered locally, as per WA state government policy.

Construction will begin on the Bellevue plant in 2020, with completion expected in 2021.

“This METRONET contract signing marks a significant moment for our State,” said WA Premier, Mark McGowan.

“It marks a turning point for WA jobs and WA apprenticeships, and the return of a local railcar manufacturing industry.”

According to the WA Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, the 10-year contract will be delivered at $347 million under budget, and will represent a cheaper outcome than the outsourcing of railcar manufacturing, which was done in Maryborough, Queensland, by Downer Rail.

“Not only is it more cost effective to build our railcars locally, it also provides hundreds of local jobs and training opportunities,” she said.

“We’ve secured a quality deal for the State, by bundling multiple railcar orders into one super-contract, we have encouraged the market to make very competitive bids for the work.”

Alstom will also be responsible for the maintenance of the railcars for the next 30 years, ensuring an operational lifespan of 35 years.